Mumbai: GlaxoSmithKline Plc and Biological E Ltd said on Monday that they have signed an agreement to form an equal joint venture for the early-stage research and development of a six-in-one combination paediatric vaccine to help protect children in India and other developing countries from polio and other infectious diseases.
The partnership is also part of these companies’ commitment to support the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) global polio eradication programme.
If approved, this combination vaccine involving GSK’s injectable polio vaccine (IPV) and Hyderabad-based Biological E’s pentavalent vaccine for diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B, and Haemophilus influenzae type B, will become the first vaccine to enable fewer injections for children, thereby improving compliance in immunisation schedules. The fully liquid formulation of the vaccine also means it would be ready to use with no additional ingredients or materials required, freeing up space at local storage facilities, said a statement on Monday.
The joint venture will bear the development costs for the candidate vaccine, which is expected to enter phase 1 development in the next two years. A very small initial cash investment will be made by both companies to cover start-up costs for the joint venture and subsequent development costs will be split equally.
“This agreement is fully aligned to GSK’s vision of providing high quality vaccines to those in need and by leveraging Biological E’s strengths, and this particular vaccine has the potential to play a significant role in the fight against polio,” Christophe Weber, president of GSK Vaccines, said in the statement.
Completion of the joint venture transaction is expected in 2013, subject to several conditions including regulatory approval of the joint venture, the release said.
“We expect to leverage this partnership to accelerate the development of the hexavalent vaccine and make IPV accessible for developing countries in the post eradication phase for polio,” said Biological E chairman Vijaya Kumar Datla.